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(c) Assess the arguments in favour of introducing a codified constitution for the UK. (25 marks)
A constitution is a statement of how the political system works and contains the limits to government
power and the rights of the citizens. Britain does not have a real constitution but we do have an
unwritten, uncodified constitution.
There are many arguments for having a codified constitution for Britain. The first one is that our rights
are not well enough protected. If we had a written constitution with a proper Bill of Rights, as they
have in America, we would feel safer and more sure that we would be protected from governments
that wish to take too much power. We have lost many of our rights in the UK and this is because we
do not have a written Bill of Rights and because government and Parliament have too much
Another argument is that the people of the UK would feel more patriotic and identify more with
politics if there was a written and codified constitution as they have in the USA. Every American
citizen knows about their constitution and they are proud of it. The British may be proud of the queen
and other aspects of our history, but we have no constitution to identify with.
The third argument is the most important. This is the dangerous shift of power towards the prime
minister and the government. It is happening because the powers of the prime minister are not well
defined and mostly contained in unwritten conventions which are a mystery to most people. This
means an individual prime minister like Thatcher or Blair can act in a presidential way without any
In the USA the written constitution states clearly what powers the president has and if he oversteps
the mark the Supreme Court can step in. The British Supreme Court cannot do this because we do not
have a codified constitution.
This essay has shown that there is a very strong case for a codified constitution in the UK and it should
be introduced to improve the political system. It would make rights more secure and curb the power
of the prime minister.